We know that the last thing you feel like doing after exercise is spending more of your precious leisure time stretching. Free time for many is sparse these days and it is hard enough to find time to exercise and easy to find excuses not to stretch. However, it is worth noting that just 2-3 minutes of key stretches after exercise will be massively beneficial. And here’s why…
Stretching will Regain Muscle Balance
During exercise, certain muscles will tighten more than others depending on the activity you participate in. Most people have a dominant side when doing exercise and this side regularly overworks, especially with repetitive movements. As a muscles overworks it tires quicker and starts to weaken. This causes a muscular imbalance between tight muscles and weak ones causing asymmetry. Regular stretching loosens off the tight areas, pulling your body back into normal alignment, allowing you to exercise effectively.
Stretching will Improve Joint Mobility
Stretching is a great way to stay mobile whilst reducing the risk of injury. It is a “low impact” form of activity, keeping your joints loose and flexible. When you exercise your muscles tighten and shorten. These shortened muscles attach at a joint or are positioned over a joint and will this in mind, the movement around a joint is affected.
Stretching will Reduce Muscle Soreness
Whatever exercise you do, no doubt you will sometime (or always) feel sore in your muscles, especially the day after your activity. This soreness happens for a variety of reasons; one of them is because the muscles remain in a slightly contracted, shortened state and the other is dues to the muscle tissues becoming inflamed as a result of exercise. Movement with stretching immediately after exercise will re-lengthen the muscles, improving the blood flow through your body, alleviating the inflammation and aiding muscle recovery.
Stretching will Encourage Muscle Flexibility
An exercised muscle becomes shortened with regular and repetitive contractions and tightens when it gets tired. A shortened muscle will not only affect the alignment in the body and around the joints but can also impact negatively on your performance. Clients will regularly continue to train with tight muscles. What they don’t realise until it is too late is that eventually something has got to give with their tight and shortened muscle that they continue to train. The result…a pulled, strain or (worst case) torn tissue. Lengthening a muscle through stretching will ensure the muscle regains its original length and is ready to train again.
Stretching will Ensure Upright Posture
There’s nothing better than a good old stretch to get your body upright again after siting slouched for a while. The body gets comfortable curled up in front of a laptop but this is not a normal posture. Standing tall is what we were designed for. Thoracic spines need to be ironed out back into extension and hip flexors and hamstrings need to be straightened to move your core away from your legs. Stretching after a day of static posture is massively beneficial to regain your natural standing alignment.
Check out our library of stretches here